Teaching Online Courses MOOC: Oxford Brookes University

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Oxford Brooks University

10 March – 4 May 2014, (with a two week break for Easter)
Duration: 6 weeks

Building on the success of OCSLD’s first open online course, First Steps Into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (FSLT), this is an intensive introduction to supporting student learning in online environments. It is designed as a follow-on course to FSLT. Taken in sequence they are intended to help new HE teachers prepare for planning and teaching online courses. Teaching Online may also be taken as a stand-alone course.

Like its sister course, FSLT, Teaching Online relies on sharing knowledge with your peers. Through the course you may also form and strengthen your professional support network of teachers in higher education.

Teaching Online Courses is an open online course. You can take it for free, or for a fee you can register for assessment and formal credit. It has been validated by Oxford Brookes University as a 10 M-level credit module within the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE).

The course has been designed around the key principles of autonomy, diversity, openness and interactivity. You can choose whether or not to be assessed and the degree to which you engage with the module. The module attracts participants from across the world, who bring with them a wide variety of resources and expertise. Learning across such a distributed group depends on connectivity and frequent interactive communication.

You will work within the Brookes Moodle online learning environment and also begin to explore the potential of using publicly available online social spaces eg ‘Web 2.0’ applications such as blogs, wikis and social media like Twitter for facilitation of online learning activities.

Because learning by doing is the best way to learn the skills required of the online tutor this course is highly participative and is designed around frequent opportunities for participants to practise and receive feedback on their developing skills as an online tutor. Participants in our earlier version of this course have valued the supportive online communities that developed as a result of collaborative work. One said:

“For me, the experience has shown what collaborative learning is really about because I have experienced it properly for myself for the first time.”

You will be supported through scheduled activities by selected key readings, specially developed course resources, skilled online tutors and guest experts. The course tutors are all experienced professional developers and skilled online tutors, bringing with them experiences in education and training from both the education and commercial sectors.


This course aims to:

  • Support the development of your pedagogical and social skills needed to tutor online
  • Help you to exploit the potential of the Internet and particularly virtual learning environments, in designing your teaching, learning and assessment
  • Help you reflect on and continue to monitor and develop your teaching practice.
  • Promote shared reflection as a means to evaluate and improve teaching practices
  • Develop your theoretical knowledge of online learning and teaching practices

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • explain the characteristics of online communication and use strategies for communicating effectively in the online environment
  • apply key theoretical concepts to designing online learning environments and supporting online learners
  • design and use a repertoire of appropriate online activities including generating online activities from familiar offline tasks
  • analyse, using a variety of evidence types, online learner support problems and recommend appropriate responses
  • effectively use a variety of digital technologies for learning and teaching, including collaborative writing tools and both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments
  • identify your continuing professional development needs and aspirations within higher education


  • Preparing students to learn online
  • Designing engaging online activities
  • Designing and supporting online collaboration
  • Supporting student learning in the online environment
  • Online assessment and feedback
  • Good practice in online learning

Course participants

This course is designed for teachers and trainers from the higher and further education sectors and all disciplines. Reliable and regular access to internet services is a pre-requisite – broadband is recommended – and we welcome international participants. It will be of most interest to staff new to HE teaching who are planning to make use of virtual learning environments and online discussions in their teaching as well as exploring the potential of online social spaces. We’ve called the course Teaching Online to reflect its emphasis on the skills of facilitating communication, interaction and learning with individuals and groups of learners. A participant in a previous version of this course said:

“The difference in my preparedness for being an online tutor pre and post this course is pretty much total. Though I still have an awful lot to learn, the experiential nature of the course and its depth, range and professionalism has painted a picture for me of what it means to be an online tutor.”


For a fee of £425 this course may be taken for 10 M-level credits. Assessment is an essay-style assignment of 2000 words (or the equivalent).

For more information and the main Oxford Brookes website please visit – http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/online/online_tutoring/

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